2020 December❮❮prevnext❯❯

Fall 2020 One Second Everyday (Age of COVID)

December 1, 2020

Like Buddha said, you know we are all just here to fuck.
Charles Châtenay in "Red Dead Redemption 2"

When I was 15, I spent a month working on an archaeological dig. I was talking to one of the archaeologists one day during our lunch break and he asked those kinds of "getting to know you" questions you ask young people: Do you play sports? What's your favorite subject? And I told him, no I don't play any sports. I do theatre, I'm in choir, I play the violin and piano, I used to take art classes.
And he went WOW, That's amazing! And I said, "Oh no, but I'm not any good at ANY of them."
And he said something then that I will never forget and which absolutely blew my mind because no one had ever said anything like it to me before: "I don't think being good at things is the point of doing them. I think you've got all these wonderful experiences with different skills, and that all teaches you things and makes you an interesting person, no matter how well you do them."
And that honestly changed my life. Because I went from a failure, someone who hadn't been talented enough at anything to excel, to someone who did things because I enjoyed them. I had been raised in such an achievement-oriented environment, so inundated with the myth of Talent, that I thought it was only worth doing things if you could "Win" at them.
Kurt Vonnegut

New Music Playlist November 2020

December 2, 2020
100 Days, 100 Nights
Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings
Great R+B.
From my work shared playlist.
Stress Me Out
Pomplamoose
Nice pop.
I like Pomplamoose and pay attention when stuff surfaces on my Youtube recs.
I'm a Fool to Want You
Billie Holiday
Soulful.
Mentioned in Obama's "Dreams from my Father": I fell back on the couch and lit a cigarette, watching the match burn down until it tickled my fingertips, then feeling the prick on the skin as I pinched the flame dead. What’s the trick? the man asks. The trick is not caring that it hurts. I tried to remember where I’d heard the line, but it was lost to me now, like a forgotten face. No matter. Billie knew the same trick; it was in that torn-up, trembling voice of hers.
Defaal Lu Wor (Once In a Lifetime)
Wasis Diop
Very different Talking Heads cover...
My friend Candace mentioned it.
Gone
Babet
Mellow pop.
Thought I heard my neighbor playing a song with the line “I’ll pack myshit” on his guitar... not sure if this was it or not.
Lose Yo Job (feat. DJ Suede the Remix God)
iMarkkeyz
musical remix of a meme, talking no crap from the cops
via The 5 Most Ridiculously Glorious Memes Celebrating Joe Biden’s Election Win, Ranked



Public Enemy Number Won (feat. Mike D, Adrock & Run-DMC)
Public Enemy
Awesome homage.
Youtube rec.



Never Going to Let You Go
Madison's Lively Stones
Weirdly I couldn't find a youtube video (and someone gifted me the MP3) but this video gives the spirit of the Trombone Shout Chorus.
I played tuba behind a School of Honk trombone sectional and they introduced this one.
Go Your Own Way
The Cranberries
I do like the vocalist's trademark sound.
Just browsing for covers.
Don't Look Back (feat. Kotomi & Ryan Elder) [From Rick and Morty: Season 4]
Rick and Morty
End credits, soft pop.
Not sure if they're commissioning music for the show or what...
Seagulls! (Stop It Now)
Bad Lip Reading
Strong David Byrne (or in the negative view, Robin Thicke)
From a pleated jeans entry.
Saints
Brass Monkey Brass Band
Kind of a more somber edge to this one, a more minor key.
My friend Candace mentioned it.
Send Me On My Way
Rusted Root
The old 90s song.
from this BoobsRadley tweet "I hate when a car is parked rudely but has bumper stickers I agree with. Taking up two spots? *Not* the way to represent Rusted Root."



Bad Guy
Too Many Zooz
Very nice cover of the Billy Elish song.
Youtube rec.

Emira didn't love doing anything, but she didn't terribly mind doing anything either.
"Such a Fun Age" by Kiley Reid

So (and please, not to be starting in any anti-trans-folks sentiment, thanks) - Elliot Page said his pronouns are "he/they". Took me a second to realize this probably meant "use he or they, either is fine" and not like "use he if subject of sentence, them if object".

I always assumed saying "he/him" was splitting a phonetic difference, shorter than "he/him/his" but less ambiguous / hard to parse than a bare "he" might be.

Declaring oneself as "he/they" is interesting. I'm a fan of singular they, especially when talking about a role that hasn't been filled yet ("when the programmer presses return, they should see ___") etc. I recongize that "they" can used as a tool for a low-key style of misgendering, like when someone is rejecting someone else's correct pronoun but doesn't want to be called on it.

With parallels to people trying to pretend we are in a post-racial wonderland and can stop working to be anti-racist, I kind of wish people weren't so binary, but also respect that some folk- trans and cis alike- want those opposite poles to hang around. But like does that mean well meaning lefties should be careful? Like can saying your pronouns are "they/them" just mean "I wish people weren't making such a big deal about gender" or should it be reserved for people who don't feel comfortable at either end of the spectrum?

Photos of the Month November 2020

December 3, 2020

December 4, 2020

Aw, poor kitty Dean. We're not feeding him this morning because of an ultrasound later today.

I know when cats become extra affectionate when they want food, it's easy to be cynical - like hey, maybe you don't like me or even pets for own sake, just a conduit to food! But even if that was the case (and I don't think is at least not totally) I gotta remember that it's foolish to expect a cat to live up to some weird human separation of communication of affection and dependency ...
School of HONK! Friendsgiving Dance Party, I'm in the "miniband".

Man, it looks so much better when I'm dancing a little than just standing stiff.

three via renniequeer on tumblr

December 5, 2020

the social norm of "its your ethical responsibility to be constantly aware of, and angry about, every bad thing happening in the world at all times, even if you can't possibly do anything about it" is possibly the best way I can imagine to create burnout and cynicism and depression in a population, so good job guys
audible-smiles

Jana Sterbak - Sisyphus Sport (1997/2014)

stone, leather straps and metal buckles
42 x 35 x 16 cm

December 6, 2020

A former instructor/mentor of mine, Jeffrey Ventrella, writes:
I will be giving a Zoom talk next Friday, December 11 at 12:00 noon (Pacific time) It's free! (but donations are appreciated). If you would like to attend, kindly RSVP here: https://workpetaluma.com/lecture-fractals-on-the-mind-biophilia-in-art-design-and-psychology/ or you can email me directly. The presentation will last about 45 minutes, followed by Q&A, and then - for those who want to stick around - we will have an open-ended discussion.

Here's the Zoom link: https://zoom.us/j/95783627043
Fractal geometry evokes a certain visual affinity to nature in humans. "Biophilia" refers to a psychic resonance to natural stimuli that is rooted in our deep evolution. New scientific theories, mathematical modeling, and design practices are pointing the way for a more sustainable world that embraces our biophilia. It can inform architectural design, and more efficient energy distribution systems. There are even new studies on how psychedelic therapies increase the "fractal dimension" of brain activity.

Please join us for a stimulating lecture by coWORKer Jeffrey Ventrella. Jeffrey's uncommon blend of art, math, and science brings a unique perspective on the subject. This presentation will be illuminating and informative to any curious mind – especially designers, teachers, artists, and scientists.

BIO: Jeffrey Ventrella is an expert on fractals in art, which was the topic of his first dissertation. His second dissertation was on genetic algorithms in animation and graphic design, which he earned from the MIT Media Lab. Jeffrey has taught at Syracuse, Tufts, UCSD, and SFU, and has lectured internationally on artificial life, math visualization, and creative coding. For examples of Jeffrey's work, visit:

ventrella.com
fractalcurves.com
Tree Yoga - https://vimeo.com/259806661


They're actually boxing *mittens*

The "folk art" tree my dad made, a swarovski star from melissa's mom, a vintage Tuba Christmas scarf, a JP honk sousaphone ornament from mom, and a buncha lights...

December 7, 2020

Take a gamble that love exists and do a loving act.
Sister Calderón, Red Dead Redemption 2

December 8, 2020

Cool, cool. Report COVID numbers in Florida, get raided by State Police.

the forager brain

December 9, 2020
I am nuts for information-- as are we all, I suspect, most real men and women. I can't get enough of the stuff. When I'm clicking through the hundreds of E-mail messages that await me each morning, sometimes I imagine I'm a mighty information whale, sifting through thousands of tiny (but nutritious!) krill bits. Yum! Whether it's reading the cereal box or scanning the advertisement slide show some genius thought to project on the big screen at the movie theater, my appetite for information is unquenchable.
Joshua Quittner, I think from Time Magazine circa 1998
This metaphor is kind of formalized as Information Foraging Theory. The claim is humans forage for information the way other animals forage for food - and that can be usefully applied to analyze "doom scrolling" and kneejerk email checking and similar behaviors, where we swing back to the hunting grounds, and then stick/scroll around for periods of time based on the likelihood of something good showing up.

I was thinking about how I also stockpile information, and I use a motley collection of apps and websites to do so:
Simplenote App: Google Docs: Tot App: Homebrew Online Database: For a bit it seemed weird that I don't have trouble remember what's recorded where... but now that I think about it, it makes sense that my brain is pretty well geared at remembering where any given "information hoard" is stored.

I think similarly, I've never been a fan of "RSS style readers" that take pure information content and put it into a generic template... the information loses that extraneous sensory data that helps me intuitively identify and recall the source/hunting ground..
RIP Chuck Yeager!

December 10, 2020

Lemme break this down for you landlubbers, again: salt water hates metal. And moving things. And especially metal moving things. And basically anything that isn't salt water. And you.

Salt water is functionally condensed hate.
David Phillips (United States Navy Former Deep Sea Diving Officer and Navigator)
via the Quora Has the Navy ever considered using saltwater for showers and lavatory sinks rather than evaporated water?

December 11, 2020

"infant so tender and mild" suggests the existence of a spicy baby

December 12, 2020

One of the most amazing optical illusions ever. Those circles don't move.

December 13, 2020

It's just like the light at the end of the tunnel has showed us how stinky and bad the tunnel is.
Kate McKinnon breaking character as Dr. Wayne Wenowdis (on the upcoming vaccines)

December 14, 2020

Depending on how you slice it, Biden won by 40,000 votes in swing states, or 7 million votes nationwide. Trump has lost over 50 lawsuits (with 1 trivial win) because the type of widespread vote shenanigans he claims just didn't happen.

Trump fans, it's time to follow your own advice about how feelings don't matter, and accept that Biden will be the next president, fair and square.

December 15, 2020

"The past is gone, and cannot harm you anymore. And while the future is fast coming for you, it always flinches first and settles in as the gentle present" _are you kidding me_ this quote has propelled me through at least three emotional crises
andhumanslovedstories

December 16, 2020

(this is a poem
which like the old joke goes
may just mean that the lines end
before the sentences do)

you've been dealt a bad hand;
born with a brain so desperate
to keep you safe
to ward you away from
a world full of dangers
that it overshoots;
a barrage of warning flares
that sets the landscape on fire

(even a lovely garden of career
one you bought seed and supplies for
and worked and worked
tilled soil
sowed seed
dirt under fingernails -
those fucking fear flares
burnt that too)

and one day (back with
the fires tamped down)
we found each other

but, what am i?

sometimes a lonely guy to be around

sunday school taught me
the view from God's throne -
(the unreachable vantage point that persists
even if there's no butt in that chair)
and the only feeling that matters
is to keep any other feeling
in line
aligned

my own fear fire was laced with brimstone
and even now i can't can't can't
be willfully responsible
for letting situations go wrong
(that brings damnation
eternal and hot
and unmakes me)

so i live in responsibility
and I love in admiration
both proceeding from the outside in
- but what if love needs be the inside out

when we found each other
i loved your laugh and your love
...and i'd help you play that hand you were dealt
now i'm haunted that maybe
I was just another bad draw

(there is no end here
this space left intentionally blank
for us to write
what comes next)


December 17, 2020

Went back to play original NES Super Mario Brothers, a game I'm not sure I've actually ever beaten, making heavy use of Switch's "rewind" feature. I had forgotten how unforging it was - probably the origin of "Nintendo Hard", the weird bad synergy between "Arcade games give you 3 lives and entertainment to fill those little bursts" and "home games now can and should have a lot of content and give many hours of playtime to make up their cost".

I gave up on world 7-4, which is a weird, unmarked puzzle that feels like an infinite loop but actually you have to take certain top or bottom paths or something. (I thought only the final 8-4 level did that.)

Supposedly the "All Star" version added in audio feedback to tell the player they chose the correct or incorrect path, but it left me with this:

Hot Take: Donkey Kong is a much better game than Super Mario Brothers.

on william james, and against revelation

December 18, 2020
Last night Erika, the co-facilitator of the Science and Spirituality reading/discusson group I manage, led a discussion on the first 3 lectures in William James' 1902 book The Varieties of Religious Experience. I think most of the other folks in the group resonated with the James more than I did...

James speaks highly of an ecstatic form of religious moment, periods of deep wonderment that transcend thought, that can only be achieved by feeling. I think I did well laying out why this doesn't hit home for me during the zoom call. (And as co-facilitator, making sure we heard from everyone who was willing to share... 2 of the quietest people when given the floor had a lot of smart stuff to say!)

I put my stock in rationality, a rationality that's smart enough to realize it won't have all the answers at hand, and so respects other ways of knowing, even as it tries to analyze them. (Or dissect them, as the cynic might accuse!) To many people my approach seems almost inhumanly cold, but my argument is it has the potential to be MORE human + empathetic.

I am suspicious of any spirituality that leans so heavily on revelation - whether personal, as in the moments of ecstasy James lectures on, or parlayed into the institutional, like the organizations built on what God said to Moses, or to Paul on the Road to Damascus, or to Mohammed, or to Joseph Smith, or whomever. Make no mistake- the length of that latter list, and the variance of those revelations, is key to why I don't trust it. Like Omar Khayyâm put it:
And do you think that unto such as you
A maggot-minded, starved, fanatic crew
God gave a secret, and denied it me?
Well, well--what matters it? Believe that, too!
For me, a spirituality needs to be potentially universal, or it is nothing. (Even if any single faith path is incomplete - despite how those faiths so often claim to being universally and objectively true - and we have to go "meta" and accept a multi-path view, and/or say the the ultimate objective truth involves accepting a range of idiosyncratic and incompatible and even feuding paths) And language and rationality are how we can try to reach to one another. If we have a hope of building bridges that go beyond the subjective it is in that kind of honest, forthright, loving and empathetic analysis.

I think it's useful to see this in the lens of our general day-to-day psychology. One of my favorite metaphors for that is The Elephant and the Rider, posting our fragile logical and narrative self as hanging on top of the emotional Elephant providing all the energy, that rider-self claiming credit for where the Elephant goes but only having limited influence. The Rider plays a crucial role in explaining ourselves to ourselves and to others, and thus allowing social dialog and trust and co-operation to exist.

James of course seems to encourage the life of the elephant as the key to enlightenment. And although he's too reserved to say it, you start to suspect that he holds to it as a connection to something supernatural, a transcendence to connect outside of our system rather than an emergent something, a pattern miraculously rising from our base materials and energies.

Let me know if you're interested in joining the "Science and Spirituality" reading and discussion group at the Belmont UU Church! About 6-10 regulars meet the third Thursday of every month (these days by Zoom of course) and try and tackle a medium length read together - excerpts from a book or a collection of related articles, etc. It's a really thoughtful group of people, with artists and educators in the mix. We're able to find good readings and then the 90 minute session often ends up being one of the better parts of my month.

from "The Fire Next Time"

December 19, 2020
White people in this country will have quite enough to do in learning how to accept and love themselves and each other, and when they have achieved this--which will not be tomorrow and may very well be never--the Negro problem will no longer exist, for it will no longer be needed.
James Baldwin, "The Fire Next Time"

To be sensual, I think, is to respect and rejoice in the force of life, of life itself, and to be present in all that one does, from the effort of loving to the breaking of bread.
James Baldwin, "The Fire Next Time"

If the concept of God has any validity or any use, it can only be to make us larger, freer, and more loving. If God cannot do this, then it is time we got rid of Him.
James Baldwin, "The Fire Next Time"

Perhaps the whole root of our trouble, the human trouble, is that we will sacrifice all the beauty of our lives, will imprison ourselves in totems, taboos, crosses, blood sacrifices, steeples, mosques, races, armies, flags, nations, in order to deny the fact of death, which is the only fact we have. It seems to me that one ought to rejoice in the fact of death--ought to decide, indeed, to earn one's death by confronting with passion the conundrum of life. One is responsible to life: It is the small beacon in that terrifying darkness from which we come and to which we shall return. One must negotiate this passage as nobly as possible, for the sake of those who are coming after us.
James Baldwin, "The Fire Next Time"
Adding that last one to my collection of quotes on mortals.be Half tempted to end it at "the conundrum of life" but It think the whole passage is good.
sometimes when i'm struggling w/ self-care i remind myself that i am, at my most basic, a hamster in an enclosure.

i need food & water & a safe environment

i need enrichment & the right level of stimuli. i get exhausted if exposed to too much stress & handling.

i am a being with needs, and i deserve to have those needs met, by a responsible and loving caregiver. i just happen to also be that caregiver.

when i think about it like that, it's easier somehow

I learned two things in this tweet:
1. There is a world class darts player who respects his eggplant farming roots.
2. Darts players have walk-on music, like pro-wrestlers, and cheerleaders.

December 20, 2020

Bodycam Videos Show Boston Police Violently Attacking Floyd Protesters Admitting this is just going to make some of my protest comarades shake their heads at my privilege fueled naivety, but I thought a little bit better of Boston Cops than this. Yeah, it's kind of a "Best Of" (Worst of) set of excerpts, but that one cop bragging about hitting folks with his unmarked cruiser before the other cop mentions the body camera is on brings out the ACAB in all of us.

Reminds me of an easier time, you know? Or a time whose problems I've suppressed.
President Selina Meyer on Veep.
Such a funny high energy show!

December 21, 2020

The world is complicated, Bar. That's why it's interesting.
Stanley Ann Dunham (to her son Barack Obama)
via his medium essay on making tough decision
Awesome sound toy blob opera

December 22, 2020

We barely have time to react in this world
Let alone rehearse
And I don't think I'm better than you
But I don't think that I'm worse
Ani DiFranco, "Letter to a John"
I think about this line sometimes when reading about “Guns, Germs, and Steel” colonialism and racism. Tough to know if any group would have been more moral had opportunities been reversed. And it’s one of those questions that begs the questions of existential predeterminism- how can anyone have done other than what they did in a universe that is governed by a domino chain of cause and effect? Free will is tough to pin down though moral behavior seems to depend on us acting like we have it.
What I say to them are the one or two best things that I learned from Sen. [Ted] Kennedy. First of all, the best is the enemy of the good. He didn't make that up. But if you have a choice between achieving 20 or 30 percent of what you'd like or being the hero of all your friends, choose the first. We're not here just to make speeches. The second thing, which I think is really of great practical value, is don't worry about credit. Credit is a weapon. You give the other person the credit. When you disagree with someone, get them to talk about the problem. Eventually--it happens almost always--they'll say something you agree with. Then you can say, "Let's work with that."
Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer on what he would tell his grandkids, or his 30-year-old self. (via slate)

Well, when I was young, I was pretty dumb. And now that I'm older, I'm pretty fucking dumb. I don't know everything, and I think I do. So there's the problem.

I didn't ever think I'd get this old. [Laughs] I always thought I was lucky to make it past 21.
Also him on daily exercise:
I still try to do a little workout every day just to pay for the day. That’s what I call it: You have to do something to pay for the day. So I’ll get up and do a little walking or jogging or whatever, just enough to keep the heart going.

December 23, 2020

Was doing some therapy-related thinking and came up with some stuff that feels new to me - I always like when I can find what seems to be some root explanation between different idiosyncratic aspects of my character...

1. My dad's death (just after I started high school) was a loss, but I think the real trauma of it was less about the death and more about the debilitating illness before: namely the lesson of how awful it is to be helpless to help loved ones.

2. On to hugs. I dig greeting and farewell hugs with family and friends, and of course an amorous embrace is always laden with lovely potential. But I think reassuring, consoling hugs land differently for me than some people. Other people seem to groove on a feeling of "look I'm here for you, everything's going to be ok" whereas for me the message is "welp, I'm helpless to materially fix this, but at least we're in this together." So I'm happy to provide comforting hugs as needed, but don't quite intuit why they work for people or want them for myself when I'm in a rough state.

3. And on to romance in general. For a long while I've seen romance as a mix of (mutual) admiration and (mutual) responsibility. But now I can see that the end goal of the responsibility is to make the other person into as fulfilled a person as they can be. So the loving gesture and support in general are means to that goal, and not ends unto themselves. (But I think other people are more into the loving gesture for its own sake...as one old paramour put it "I just want a lover who'll make me chicken soup when I'm sick.")


a redwood will never return to its roots, never crawl back into its seed. you cannot be what you were at the beginning. you can only move towards the end.
darkearthsuggestions


(I might have Posted this "Pictures for Sad Children" Star Trek Next Generation empathy, "this is her... Super-Power" but I wanted to have it better show up in my archive search.)

December 24, 2020


Yikes. I love small cars-- easy to park in the city, can still carry a tuba. But 2 of the most
logical replacements for my old 2004 Scion xA, the Honda Fit and the Toyota Yaris, are going away...
it's so stupid how low gas prices gas prices means everyone only cares about oversized vehicles.

Merry Kongmas!

December 25, 2020

Donkey Kong Christmas Tree by Carlos Leituga
Repost (from 10 years ago!)

December 26, 2020

For a while now, I've had one of these BT speaker/radios on my bedside table, the iHome iBT4:

They also made a "boom box" style version of it:


The design of both was quite appealing in an artsy retro and "Museum of Contemporary Art" way - but there's something weird about the coating they used that over time it becomes a gross and sticky/tacky.

For Christmas Melissa got me the SEVIZ Four off of my wishlist so I can retire the iBT4. (I've noticed even cheap BT speakers have gotten much, much better over the past few years, much richer sounds, so I think it will be an upgrade in the audio department. And both have an FM radio, which seems like a nice backup for information even in an age of podcasts.)

Still, it was a really cool design!

December 27, 2020

what we do vs who we are vs where we are at

December 28, 2020
I've been reading Robert Wright's "Why Buddhism Is True". Once again I find there are a lot of profound Buddhist concepts I find pretty intuitive, that they jibe well with the sense of "unrealizable yet present and important Objective Truth" that is my inheritance from my religious upbringing.

The book spends a lot of time on the illusory nature of "essences" and how humans are too quick to mix up how they feel about something or someone and what that thing or person actually is. The most extreme failure of that is Capgras Syndrome, where a mental glitch causes someone to fail to recognize a loved one and claim that they've been replaced by an imposter because the other person isn't triggering the emotional response used for identification

I've long been interested in the conflict of "surfaces vs essences". I have always emphasized the former; look to how things interact, which can be observed and verified, not to your guess about their interior states. Or as I've put it: "People and computers should be judged by what they do, not by what (you think) they are."

But there are limits to my view. To make predictions about future behaviors, to judge the safety of interactions with others, we have to make these models. (Hell, maybe the point of consciousness is to model the world and our place in it, so that we can play what-ifs out in our head.) As Professor Quirrell in the delightful fanfiction Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality puts it:
The import of an act lies not in what that act *resembles on the surface*, Mr. Potter, but in the states of mind which make that act more or less probable.
Harry Potter (this one raised by a couple of Oxford Professors instead of the Dursleys) realizes this is recapitulating the "Bayesian definition of evidence".

That line has challenged my thinking for a while, but Wright introduced me to a concept to fight back a bit - the existence of Fundamental Attribution Error - as humans we are highly predisposed to overemphasize the character of someone and deemphasize the circumstance and context of the situation. (Unless of course it's someone we like doing something bad, or someone we dislike doing something good - then it's just a matter of circumstance or coincidence!)

Of course knowledge of FAE can lead to cynicism, making all good and bad behavior a matter of situation and opportunity...like Chris Rock put it "Men are as faithful as their options" I'm not quite there - I do think people have something of a personal code they will more or less stick to, but if you keep turning the crank on this line of thinking, you get to questions of free will in a deterministic universe and if ideas like the Tabula Rasa (blank slate) are true. Like (heh) the video game character Andrew Ryan put it... "We all make choices, but in the end, our choices make us".

FOLLOWUP: Listening to an episode of "No Stupid Questions", they mention "Locus of Control" - a spectrum ranging from internal (i.e. you have control over events) to external (things are controlled by other forces/circumstances). In general they think it's happier/healthier to have an internal one. But it's funny, that's the same kind of space as Fundamental Attribution issues, but for our own selves. I think a balanced view is called for (even though I guess there's some evidence that a internal-locus "power of positive thinking" is very pragmatic - if not fully rooted in reality!)

December 29, 2020

Seriously.

Go out to the woods sometime. Find a big tree, the biggest you can.

Go up to that tree, lay a hand on it, and ask it about what it feels, about how it feels about having won its place. Ask it how it feels about having smothered and shaded out a hundred smaller enemies, and then feasted on their rotting corpses. And that huge ancient oak tree will tell you how sweet triumph tastes, and how death pays for life.

Then find one of the struggling little scraggly trees under that oak, and ask it what it feels, and it will tell you of patience, of endurance, and of how sweet will the bones of the giant taste when the giant falls at last, and gives the sapling its chance.

Plants understand more of triumph, of death, and of how death and life are but two sides of the same coin than most humans ever will.

the first 20 years

December 30, 2020
So, today marks 20 years of this blog! I hardly missed a day in all that time. 10 years ago I made a nice montage picture.

I couldn't think of anything as great for this milestone, so I decided to finally get to a different look back - a few months ago I assembled a list of high points and lowpoints of all my school years. I was surprised at how easy it was to assemble, though I guess it makes sense that these things really stick out in my memory landscape, and all I had to do was think chronologically to survey them all.

Elementary School Middle School: High school College
How on earth does the word "plus" only have one s.

December 31, 2020

Sorry that Flash is going away. I never programmed much in it but there was a whole indie game making culture in it. Flash Game History is a bit of an homage.

The archivists are at work, though, with new options to run Flash stuff

No matter how far you push the earth away from you -- it will always return to its original position.
Jonik, "Early Science"



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